Some of the most iconic designer armchairs of all time
Try to imagine the ideal living room. What should be in it? A two or three-seater sofa, bookcases, and maybe a console for the big screen and home theater. But above all, it should have a piece of furniture that invites you to sit and rest, a seat of undoubted comfort just for you: that is, an armchair.
The "Armchair" concept
But what exactly is an armchair? Why is it different from a chair or a sofa? Although both are cushioned and soft furniture, unlike a sofa, an armchair is a seat for one person, and in contrast to a chair, it has armrests, i.e., supports at elbow height that serves several functions.
For example, the armrests receive part of the bodyweight, which significantly reduces the load on the lower back. In addition, they serve as supports for standing up or sitting down gently. Finally, armrests also make holding books and tablets easier or more comfortable. These are the main reasons why armchairs are so comfortable and so irresistible. In addition, they are designed to be very ergonomic.
The most iconic armchairs
As with all types of furniture, there are armchairs that, because of their exceptional design, history, or implications, have become true design icons and are capable of transforming and giving personality to entire spaces with their mere presence. In our opinion, the five most iconic armchairs in modern history are:
-Proust armchair, by Mendini
There is furniture that marks an era. But, on the other hand, furniture resulting from a previous historical period combined with current trends brings a powerful symbolic load and meanings. Such is the case of the Proust Armchair. At the end of the 1970s, amid a design fever that was struggling for increasingly extravagant forms that were far from human and comfortable, Alessandro Mendini had the idea of reinterpreting and redesigning furniture from other eras, which although exotic for contemporary interior design, did have an undeniable visual and haptic appeal.
The result was a success like a few others. This exercise of appropriation and irreverent modification consisted -in crude terms- in giving an impressionist skin to a neo-baroque piece of furniture. The public enthusiastically received such a juxtaposition. Initially, this was a one-off piece, but demand led to more individual pieces or limited series being made. This brilliant idea of Mendini's marked the birth of one of the most exciting trends in interior design today. It inspired many designers and furniture manufacturers, including us, POLART, who created the Outdoor Plastic Luighi armchair as a tribute and reinterpretation of the Proust armchair.
-Cube Armchair, by Le Corbusier
"Simplicity is the highest degree of sophistication" This is a truth that applies to design in all its facets and is evident in Le Corbusier's Cushion. Although at first glance it may appear to be a piece of furniture without much inspiration or complication, the Cube armchair is the result of years of anthropometric and ergonomic studies condensed into a chair of perfect dimensions, capable of receiving a variety of comfortable postures, ideal for various activities, such as reflection, reading and conversation. This design premise led to the creation of the Grand Comfort series. Le Corbusier created several of the most iconic pieces of functionalist furniture, which, even today, 91 years after their product, still look elegant, refined avant-garde.
-Chair 45, by Finn Juhl
Fin Juhl was a design pioneer, and in 1945 he created this light, streamlined armchair that established him as a world-class designer. The Model 45 armchair is notable for the very high quality of joinery required to achieve the subtle curvatures of each piece and the seemingly simple joints. Originally presented at the Cabinetmakers' Exhibition in 1945, this chair was an immediate success, and not only did it win first prize, but the first piece was purchased in advance by an American client despite its high cost.
As you can see, armchairs are more than just furniture, and their design can transform and revitalize the spaces where they are used. So, if you feel like experimenting with something new in your areas, why don't you take a look at the catalog of armchairs, chairs, and sofas by POLaRT? Fall in love with the unique colors and textures we have for you and take your projects to the next level.
Ball chair by Eero Aarnio (1963)
Finnish designer Eero Aarnio designed this "space within a space" after moving house and realizing he had no armchair. He decided to create one himself and created this simple, stylish spherical chair. His wife traced his head on a wall while he sat next to it to determine the height of the seat. From there, the furniture went from concept to prototype and then to design icon.
Chaise Lounge by Le Corbusier (1928)
This chair will go down in history as one of the most comfortable recliners globally. It was designed in 1928 by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, and Charlotte Perriand to place man at the center of the design, based on the idea that form and function should provide relaxation by creating a perfect balance between geometric purity and ergonomics.
Wassily Chair by Marcel Breuer (1925)
The Wassily chair, also known as the Model B3, was designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925 while heading the cabinetmaking workshop at the Bauhaus in Germany. The materials of his bicycle inspired Breuer; he thought that if tubular steel, a light, and strong material, could be bent to make bicycle handlebars, it could also be turned to make furniture. The revolutionary use of steel in its manufacture would change how the table has been understood and manufactured ever since.
The painter Wassily Kandinsky, who taught at the Bauhaus, commissioned Breuer to make a duplicate for his office. The chair became known as "Wassily" decades later, when it was reissued by an Italian manufacturer named Gavina.
Red and Blue Chair by Gerrit Rietveld (1917)
The red and blue chair started out as a plain beech wood chair. The bright colors were added several years after Gerrit Rietveld made the first design of the chair in 1917. It was designed for mass production, so it was kept simple and minimalist.
It is one of the most iconic and representative designs of the early Dutch De Stijl movement, which Rietveld joined two years later. It was in collaboration with Piet Mondrian, the movement's founder, that Rietveld decided to paint the chair in these distinctive colors in 1923.
Chesterfield Sofa (18th century)
A classic symbol of traditional English design, the Chesterfield sofa, also known as Chester, was an ever-present guest in the exclusive London clubs of the 19th century. It is an eminently masculine sofa because only men could enter the private clubs.
According to one of the theories about this sofa, it was the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope (1694-1773), patron of Voltaire, who ordered it to be made so that the gentlemen of high society could sit with an upright posture that would not detract from their suits. But other theories are claiming that the sofa's creator was a later count. In any case, this sofa has become a classic piece of living room decor.
Today, the furniture in most homes does not stand out for its exclusivity or originality but rather for being practical and cheap. As a result, the culture of decoration is being lost. People are used to buying their furniture on large surfaces instead of going to specialized companies or auctions to acquire quality pieces with history.
Even so, chairs, armchairs, and sofas have captivated the world and have become famous for their original and innovative design. Even though some of them were created decades ago, they are still considered valuable items. Their name may not be familiar to you, but you will recognize them right away when you see the pictures. So if you are one of those who want to decorate the living room with exclusive and upscale furniture, you can be inspired by these.